The below short fiction is my response to @theinkwell challenge to respond to the prompt, 'By the light of the moon'. There is something whimsical about moonlight, yet, its promises are rarely enough to allow us to more out of our safe and comfortable routines - for indeed, as the moon rises each night, who is she to promote the need for adventurous spontaneity? I hope you'll enjoy the play on words in my title.
Change is not the cat's pajamas.
Rhonda waddled from one side of her loungeroom to the other. With a sigh she knelt by the old television set, whacked it with an accompanying profanity, and continued cursing until the picture came back into focus.
Ferdinand, the much overfed yet under-pampered cat, knew this routine well. Every night, the moon would rise and the ritual would begin. A Chinese take-out, a knock on the door from the pizza shop down the road, or a chicken bucket delivered. The remote would be found, and the woman’s stupor would begin.
With her eyes affixed to the television, Ferdinand would arch his back, offer his customary purr and slink to the back of the house to watch the great orb of light rise from the east. He could not explain its regularity and I’m sure he just assumed it was part of the consequences which Rhonda sets in motion each night the doorbell rings.
Stretching out on the windowsill, Ferdinand would become a people-watcher of sorts. He would spy passing owls or the occasional possum, and he would claw at the shredded lace curtains with great satisfaction if a frog would begin to croak! The night’s routine would begin to blur into monotony at some point. However, as he was unable to keep time by the hour, Ferdinand could not tell you when it was his mind would begin to think of other things, but he thought it necessary to accompany the moon across her sky.
Now, let me tell you, as you may not be aware, that the dreams of cat are not often vivid. This is important to remember, for you must judge whether the following was in Ferdinand’s mind, or whether it happened when you, like Rhonda, were looking at the pixels on the screen, rather than the stars in the sky.
The moon introduced himself to the cat; offering an apology for forgetting her own name – but inviting Ferdinand to brunch with the Queen. Never before hearing the word, ‘Queen’, Ferdinand did not show the level of enthusiasm the moon expected. The wind blew a little gustier than usual, and a branch which usually bobbed up and down, thwacked the pane of glass. The opportunity presented itself for Ferdinand to run free, yet he stared at the broken window hesitantly, demanding of the moon why he should want to upset his routine.
Ferdinand began to notice numerous creases on the moon’s face. The challenge to answer had been set. The moon stuttered, ‘Sometimes it is good to do things differently from the way we’ve always done them’. The cat did not look persuaded. ‘Sometimes it is worth taking a risk’. The cat did not look persuaded. ‘Sometimes it is simply a good idea to listen to strangers?’ the inflection turning this final statement into a question.
Ferdinand’s mind raced with possibilities, recalling the world as Rhonda had shown him: he would waltz down yellow paved roads, and be sucked into alien space ships. He would find delight in solving murders in under an hour and find love under an enormous foreign metal structure in a triangular pattern. Ferdinand imagined himself driving down the highway in a red car, being pursued by another with flashing lights. He could see himself now, drinking a martini, shaken but not stirred. He would make bold declarations and shrug his shoulders and say ‘That’s all folks’.
With these possibilities in mind, Ferdinand remained un-persuaded. The lanky fellow took himself down from the window sill, as he always did and walked back through the bedroom to sit by Rhonda’s side. Soon she would be getting up from her couch, to waddle across the room, to smack the television and to utter more curse words. How could he possibly dream of missing this?
Images sourced at Pixabay.